No is Better Than Yes

Dec 11, 2023

Happy Monday!

Many of you know I’m a voracious reader. I never like to pretend I have all the answers. I’d much rather give credit where it’s due so that you can have some of the same “aha’s” and epiphanies that I’ve had.

I present another for your consideration today.

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a sales conversation or business negotiation and thought, “I don’t have a CLUE what I’m doing?”

If so—you’re not alone. Not only are you not alone, but that’s also a good first step. It means you are self aware in a way many are not.

(I’ve met plenty who think they’re the bee’s knees and don’t even know how to measure or evaluate these conversations objectively.)

In any sales call or negotiation, we tend to be very self-centered. We’re thinking things like:

  • How do I get them to say yes?
  • How do I get what I want out of the deal?
  • I have a lot riding on this.
  • I hope they’re impressed with me.
  • I hope they see the value in my services.
  • I hope they pay the price I want.
  • Etc

In his book Start With No, the late negotiation expert Jim Camp suggests that the problem with all of these attitudes is they’re focused on getting a prospect to say yes.

Instead, he opines, we should get to “no” as soon as possible.

Only when a “no” is decided has a real decision been made that can now be negotiated.

This book is full of counterintuitive advice, and I’ve already read through most of it twice.

It’s helped me already in real life conversations. I’m working on negotiating a pretty big deal for my agency right now that could lead to tens of thousands in recurring revenue over the next few years. I wouldn’t have had NEAR the confidence to begin these negotiations without having read this book.

I also plan to do something I don’t usually do with this one:

Not read another book like it for a long time — if ever.

There’s obviously a lot of value in looking at a problem or project from multiple angles.

And I like to read diverse opinions.

But Jim’s system is just that—a system where each of the pieces works together.

And it’s so focused on the other party (what he refers to as your “adversary” for lack of a better word) and living in their world for the negotiation, that it just feels right.

I plan to hone the skills I’ve learned from this book in every business (and life!) negotiation from this point forward, and introducing (potentially) conflicting information could impede that process. Again, not something I normally do, but it is useful at times when you are trying to focus.

There’s research mode. Then there’s implementation mode.

This book is heavy in “implementation” mode for me. Not questioning—just performing.

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned from this book:

  • Why getting a person to tell you know is INFINITELY more valuable than a “yes” or—especially—the dreaded “maybe”
  • How to control the conversation while making the adversary feel great the entire time (and feel as though THEY are actually in control)
  • The one type of question to ask that keeps conversations moving forward instead of getting stopped up on useless information
  • Why you should stop talking
  • The 5-point agenda for EVERY conversation that will ensure you’re always focused on the right things
  • How to control the one thing that gives you fear and anxiety in most negotiations
  • The practice to do before EVERY negotiation that will absolutely ensure that it never goes off the rails and puts you in an uncomfortable position

And to be honest, a LOT more. Like, way more.

You should read this book.

If you’d like to grab it from Amazon, I would be more than grateful if you’d consider using my affiliate link. Might get me a steak when my 72 hour fast is up 🙂

Here’s the link: